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Hexcel to Exhibit at CAMX

  • Tuesday, 14th October 2014
  • Reading time: about 5 minutes

Hexcel will be promoting its latest innovations in carbon fibre and composite materials for aerospace and industrial markets including automotive and wind energy at CAMX.

Hexcel states it is promoting its proven fast cure system HexPly M77 that meets the needs of large volume manufacturers in the automotive and sports goods industries, offering a 2-minute press-cure cycle at 300°F/150°C (1150psi/80 bar pressure).  With HexPly M77, Hexcel claims it has a product that addresses the challenges posed by very high volume production in the automotive industry. 

Hexcel explains the low tack enables the prepreg to be cut into precise shapes by laser cutter. These plies can then be oriented, assembled and consolidated into a flat preform by robot. Once in the mould HexPly M77 has an optimised gel time that allows the resin to flow into the contours to produce the precise geometries required. The high Tg of 260°F/125°C enables the cured parts to be demoulded while hot for a faster production cycle.  HexPly M77 snap cure prepreg benefits from a 6-week outlife at room temperature and is available in various forms including unidirectional or woven reinforcements and heavy tow fibres.

Furthermore, Hexcel explains HexPly M77 epoxy resin is also supplied in the form of HexMC, a high performance carbon fibre/epoxy compound developed specifically for compression moulding processes with a very high fibre volume content providing excellent mechanical performance..  HexPly M77 is a suitable alternative to lightweight metals for structural applications, is capable of hybridisation to metal and has superior mechanical properties to vinyl esters. 

Hexcel states other automotive prepregs will feature on its stand. It is displaying motorsports components manufactured by Indy Performance Composites using HexPly M9.6 prepreg.  HexPly M9.6 is a flexible resin system suitable for various processing conditions, with a 6 week outlife at room temperature, competitive lead times and low minimum order quantities.  Standard HexPly M9.6 products include cosmetic grade 3K 200 gsm twill and plain weaves – and a conformable 670 gsm twill weave.

Hexcel is also showing a side pod for a “Sprint Car Series” body manufactured from HexPly M35-4, a toughened, controlled flow system producing an excellent surface finish.  HexPly M35-4 cures at a range of temperatures from 80–180°C/175 – 350°F.  Hexcel claims it provides excellent elevated temperature performance, with high Tg and service temperature.  It can be cured using a variety of processes (press, autoclave and vacuum), with an optional post-cure.  The prepreg has excellent drape and tack and a long shelf life and out-life

Hexcel’s Joerg Radanitsch will be presenting a technical paper on multilayered carbon stacks for large wind turbine blades (Thursday October 16th at 10.30am).  The paper will focus on multi-layer material concepts and Hexcel’s HexPly M79 carbon fiber prepreg. 

The company states HexTow HM63 is its latest carbon fibre offering the highest tensile strength of any High Modulus fibre on the market.  HM63 provides outstanding translation of fibre properties in a composite, including superior interlaminar shear and compression strength making it ideal for any high stiffness and strength-critical applications including space, satellites, UAV, commercial aerospace and helicopters.  HexTow HM63 also meets the special requirements for premium sports and recreation applications including F1, marine craft, bikes and fishing rods.

Also being presented, Hexcel states, will be its PrimeTex carbon fibre fabrics, with fibres spread in both the warp and weft direction provide a high performance reinforcement with uniform weave and gap-free finish.  The PrimeTex spreading process increases the closure factor by 5-8% compared to conventional weaving processes (depending on the carbon tow and FAW).  PrimeTex fabrics are ideal for Aerospace laminates as the gap-free structure reduces porosity and requires less part finishing.  PrimeTex can lower the mass in a composite structure, resulting in even greater weight savings than achieved with standard composite reinforcements.  PrimeTex gives excellent water tightness when used in honeycomb sandwich structures such as aircraft belly fairings or helicopter structures.

For the composites tooling sector, Hexcel will be presenting HexTOOL material, which enables mould tool manufacturers to build lightweight tooling that meets the strict requirements for stability and repeatability of tolerances that was previously only achieved with machined Invar tools.  In addition HexTOOL provides improved thermal performance and is much lighter than metal tooling, allowing easier handling and maneuverability.  At CAMX Hexcel will display tooling manufactured by Sawyer Composites using HexTOOL M61 that is used by CFAN to make the fan blades for the GE90 and GEnx engines.

HiTape advanced dry carbon fibre reinforcements combine the benefits of automated processing with the cost-effectiveness of Out of Autoclave infusion technologies. HiTape allows preforms to be manufactured in a fully automated lay-up process, with high deposition rates.  When infused with HexFlow resins, HiTape parts can be up to 30mm thick with a 58 to 60% Fiber Volume Content, resulting in mechanical properties that are as high as those achieved with primary structure prepregs.  To demonstrate the potential of HiTape for cost and cycle efficient primary aircraft structures, Hexcel has worked with Aerolia SAS and Coriolis Composites to design and manufacture an aircraft fuselage panel demonstrator that will be on display at CAMX.

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